Statement of problem: Acrylic resin complete dentures exhibit certain unavoidable dimensional changes. Processing shrinkage and expansion due to water uptake are 2 important aspects influencing dimensional accuracy.
Purpose: This study investigated linear dimensional changes and water sorption of dentures processed by dry and wet heat with different rates of cooling.
Methods: Fine crosses marked on tinfoil inserts were placed at the incisive papilla and tuberosity regions of edentulous maxillary casts and incorporated into the dentures during polymerization by 3 processing techniques. A traveling microscope was used to measure the distances between the reference points to determine dimensional changes. Water uptake and content were determined by the mass changes of the dentures with an electronic balance. Data of linear dimensional change and water sorption were analyzed by multivariate analysis of variance and analysis of variance, respectively. Bonferroni simultaneous confidence intervals (95%) were applied for multiple comparison.
Results: Dry heat-processed and water bath-processed acrylic resin dentures did not exhibit significant differences in shrinkage (0.42% to 0.58%) at water saturation. Amounts of water sorption of dentures processed by dry and wet heat (0.50 and 0.48 mass%, respectively) were not significantly different, and their associated expansion did not entirely compensate for the processing shrinkage. The initial water content of dry heat-processed dentures (1.77 mass%) was unexpectedly slightly higher than that of wet heat-processed dentures (1.68 mass%). The rate at which the dentures cooled did not affect their initial water content and subsequent water uptake.
Conclusions: Water uptake of dry and wet heat-processed acrylic resin dentures after deflasking was in both cases low, and the dentures did not reveal significant differences in shrinkage at water saturation. Air oven-processed and water bath-processed acrylic resin dentures show similar dimensional shrinkage at water saturation.